How to become a successful makeup artist & fashion stylist: An interview with Diane Aiello
This blog post and interview was done by Kristianne Young, our Campus Ambassador from Arizona State University. You can follow her on Twitter Handle @kristianneyoung.
Diane Aiello is a freelance makeup artist and fashion stylist who has been working in the beauty and fashion industries for more than two decades. Known for her signature style which blends fresh faced beauty with an edge, Diane’s resume is impressive and includes just about every client any successful makeup artist and stylist could want: Elle Magazine, Nike, Gucci, Vanity Fair, Allure, Nordstrom, Oscar de la Renta, Ralph Rucci, Mario Lopez, and the list goes on. Diane is also the Fashion and Beauty Director at Arizona Foothills Magazine and owns the Glam Lounge Artists, an onsite makeup and spa team.
Though her plate is plenty full with photo shoots, fashion editorials, and celebrity and commercial clients, what makes Diane a true gem in the industry is her down-to-earth personality and her love for mentoring. More recently, Diane launched My Beauty Muse, “I created My Beauty Muse to empower and inspire everyday women and makeup artists through advice, tutorials, workshops and savvy tips to skyrocket confidence…Also for fellow Makeup Artists – there’s Masterclass where I share proven tips and techniques to help coach and mentor industry beginners and experienced artists who desire to take their career to the next level of success.”
Intern Queen readers are in for a treat as Diane took time away from her busy but fabulous life to answer questions and give valuable advice about becoming a Makeup Artist and Fashion stylist.
IQ: How did you get started as Makeup Artist? What prompted you to leave your Criminal Justice Studies to pursue this type of career?
Diane: I was always obsessed with makeup and fashion, but I never thought it could be an actual job. While I was in college I took a job as a receptionist in a hair salon and helped out doing makeup for a few of their hair shows. A few of the girls I worked with thought I did a great job, then later I met a facialist who was so incredible. I was intrigued by her and thought she had the most amazing job. I ended up quitting college and going to beauty school and the rest slowly evolved from there.
IQ: What does "normal" workday as a freelance makeup artist and stylist look like?
Diane: One thing I love about my job is that there is no normal, but often I start the morning early facing about 50 -75 emails. I try to answer the ones that need immediate attention, then once I pull myself together, I load my car with makeup kits, and set bags then head off to location. At location I get set up, chat with the client, art director and photographer or director to get a feel for the look or directive they want. If the model or talent has not arrived I go into work mode again returning emails, coordinating and confirming clients with my bridal team, and touch base with PR contacts to secure products or samples for upcoming photo shoots or features for magazines or blogs. Once the job wraps 10-12 hours later I head home check emails again, confirm with upcoming clients, clean and organize my makeup tools and supplies, write blog content and then relax over dinner with my hubby. Often followed by a movie because we are both film buffs...Then off to bed to start all over again the next day.
IQ: Did you ever intern for a makeup artist or in the industry in general? What kind of experience was that and what did you take away from it?
Diane: I was never an intern per say, but early on I did assist a few makeup artists and wardrobe stylists when I was first learning the ropes. Most of the people I assisted for were from New York and although they were very nice, they were very direct and people just didn't mess around on those big budget photo shoots. So needless to say you learned really quickly because you never wanted to be called out for making a mistake in front of the whole crew. I learned in that environment that there are no excuses, time is money and you need to make it work.
IQ: What has been your most memorable moment as a makeup artist?
Diane: I have been so very blessed in my career with so many memorable moments, but one of the biggest was working with Annie Lebovitz on a Vanity Fair cover and one of my first celebrity experiences was working with the ridiculously handsome and charming Antonio Banderas. He was so much fun, no drama, no ego just a great guy. And because he was so energetic and fun, he kept our moods upbeat throughout the day.
IQ: What is the New York Fashion Week experience like as a makeup artist?
Diane: New York Fashion Week is like a huge adrenalin rush. It's hectic and fast paced and at times you feel like a sardine backstage packed between photographers trying to get behind the scenes shots while you are trying to apply the makeup. Actually it's amazing and inspiring to be surrounded by such creative talent.
IQ: What is the number one piece of advice you would give to those interested in getting started as a makeup artist?
Diane: Learn your craft, work at it every day, practice, practice, practice, do jobs for free at first to build your portfolio and know that it takes time to learn the ins and outs of the business.
IQ: Why would you encourage those interested in becoming a makeup artist to first intern/assist/find a mentor?
Diane: I find that with all the tutorials and social networking available many people think they are far more prepared than they actually are and assisting or interning gives you the opportunity to see how an experienced person handles all aspects of the job. I started mentoring initially because it was so difficult for me to get good guidance and support when I started out. A mentor will often provide the encouragement and clarity that you may not get as an assistant or intern. Assisting helps with the hands on part and mentoring helps with the mental and emotional aspects of a career.
IQ: Did you go to school for makeup? Would you encourage others to attend makeup school?
Diane: I went to beauty school, but the focus was only on makeup for a few weeks. I would encourage anyone wanting to be a makeup artist to get as much education as possible whether that means getting your license, or going to seminars, workshops or accelerated programs. I still stay open to learning as much as I can. Right now I am in New York attending makeup workshops with artists I respect immensely.
IQ: You are also a freelance stylist as well, how did you get started in this part of the fashion industry?
Diane: The styling part of my career started by accident. I was always obsessed with magazines and fashion from a very young age. When I was first assisting makeup artists I ended up working with a few New York stylists and learned the basics from them. Years later I had photographers asking if I could pick up some wardrobe or props for photo shoots and afterwards the clients ended up being so happy with the results the photographers kept hiring me for styling.
IQ: Advice for those who want to be stylists?
Diane: For those wanting to be stylists it's even more important to assist other stylists for at least a year or two. There are so many variables and so many types of jobs that it takes a while to really learn the ins and outs.
IQ: You get a lot of emails from those wanting to assist, what advice would you give concerning resumes, cover letters and even emails when perusing a job as an assistant?
Diane: I receive so many emails on a weekly basis and the ones that stand out to me are those that have a friendly but professional and well-written cover letter followed by a concise and honest not overly embellished résumé. If someone is humble and comes across as really wanting to learn coupled with a willingness to work hard then I want to meet them.
IQ: Our favorite Intern Queen question: Interview wardrobe and beauty advice?
Diane: One of my favorite questions too. For interviews keep it professional. Even if you are interviewing for a job in the beauty or fashion industry it's not the time to pull out your best Katy Perry makeup look. Keep your makeup fresh and pretty and your hair looking neat. For wardrobe no super short skirts, no midriff showing, no sleeveless, no jeans. Even if you will be wearing jeans on the job, you should dress to impress for an interview.